Committed

For the first time in my life, I will be staying at a job for longer than 1 year.

… Reading that helps me realize that I may come across as an unreliable worker. In my defense, I move a lot. I like to see the world and sometimes that’s for a year at a time. Sometimes, the job just doesn’t work out. As a massage therapist, you have to choose your battles and workplaces wisely. Interestingly enough, the two jobs that I had more than a year experience with were part time: 1. Dancing for an entertainment company (noooo not the stripper kind – think ‘hype man’) 2. serving/bev cart at a local country club.

 

I have decided to stay in Korea for one more year. I am not staying to spite my family (although some family members may feel differently). I am not staying because I love Korea (I haven’t even tried to learn the language). I am not staying because there are not other jobs.

I am staying because I’m finally comfortable enough in a place to stay. I have a large studio apartment furnished with a nice 3D tv, a double/queen bed, a vanity, a hammock, and a kitchen most tenants wish they had.

I have a job teaching advanced students (age 12-16) and I’m the only foreign teacher on this level. I work with 10 other foreign teachers at my school and most of us get along REALLY well. My managers respect me and my opinion. They listen to me when I have a problem and work with me to solve it. They promoted me to ‘head teacher’… which wasn’t even a position that existed before. They want to revamp the AMS (advanced middle school) program and look for my advice on the curriculum. They haven’t fired me even after a few students quit (unofficially because of me… I assume. G-d forbid the students should do homework for a change).

I have a group of friends that I generally like. I have no clue if they like me that much.. and most of them are only staying until March 2015. But I have people to hang out with. And if that stops, well i have a 3D tv and some paint supplies to entertain me.

I have certain conveniences. I have a Costco nearby and a motorbike to get me around town. Yes I hate the winter, but tough. No, I can’t find pants or bras that fit me, but that’s more encouragement to lose weight.

I’ll be making money.. and I’ll be able to save it for once. Not only will I leave with a few Gs in my pocket, but I make a few bucks doing massage as well. I have a steady clientele building up here and at my SERIOUSLY DISCOUNTED rates, I can keep them around.

I’ll be contributing some of my food ideas to the monthly foreigner market. Maybe, just maybe, I can start a mini pickling business and sell the delicious food I make. I can start trying out my bestie’s recipes from http://www.anotherfoodthing.wordpress.com and wowing the people of this city.

I’ll get a two week vacation at some point and maybe my family will come visit me finally.

September 2015… it’s not THAT far off, right?IMG_3305

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They like me! They ACTUALLY Like me!

I can’t believe how different it is teaching at Wharton now than it was when I first started. In the beginning I was questioning myself as a teacher: Was I too strict? Did I give unfair homework? Should I allow the students youtube time?
I was a nervous wreck. Students were quitting my class and complaining that I was too strict. But then, they started to come around. They did their homework, they tried harder to speak in English, and students were saying Hi to me outside of the classroom. When the semester was ending, my manager informed me that the majority of my students were requesting to have me teach them again.

A few of them got their wish, but with my promotion, I was brought upstairs to the Scholars (slightly more advanced) program. I saw some old faces (some of my favorites) and many new faces. Some had heard of me and some were unfortunate enough to have NEVER heard of me.

I have been revamping the Guru (library) program and helping the school director develop a new literature class. In Korea, middle school students may miss up to a month of class due to exams (similar to SATs… it helps them get into HIGH SCHOOL!? whoa). This past week, two of my students (favorites, ahem ahem) came in. I jokingly said ‘Oh I missed you boys!’ and they responded ‘We are so happy to be back, Teacher!’ ‘Yea! We missed you too! There’s much to talk about!’ I was shocked. ‘Really?’ I asked. ‘You actually missed me?’ They nodded and responded ‘Of course!’  — Wow. I was floored. So we sat and caught up a bit on the few weeks they missed. And since only two (of 5) showed up, we started to plan our monthly essay topic. This particular class offers incredible insight to controversial topics (see Alex’s essay). After a few minutes of topic ideas, we decided to write about a major event that occurred recently in Korea: the sinking of the Sewol ship. If you’re unsure of this news story, please consider moving out from your rock… google it – it’s a seriously horrible tragedy. —Topic: Following the tragic sinking of the Sewol ship, many Korean festivals and activities were cancelled out of respect for those who lost their lives. Do you think, two weeks later, plans should still be cancelled or postponed (out of respect)? Support your opinion with reasons, details, and examples. ***Example, a Korean government worker was asked to cancel his family vacation two days before his departure (and two weeks after the sinking) to show the people of Korea that the government is paying respect to those lost*** — This is a serious topic and I only trust this class to handle the seriousness of it. I’m excited to read what they have to say.

Anyway – this week, my manager informed me that I would be taking over another middle school Scholars class. When I asked why, she replied that several students wanted to transfer into my class but couldn’t due to scheduling. Therefore, I get the entire class. Students are actually ASKING to be in my class? This is still flooring me.

And to boot – tomorrow is Teacher’s Day and one of my students just walked in and handed me a gift. 😀 I suspect this year ‘Teacher’s Day’ in Korea will be nothing like Wai Kru day (Teacher Respect day) in Thailand – where the students crawl on their hands and knees to present me with flowers.

I guess they like me here.

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